Indian Commission honors four Nevadans
The Nevada Indian Commission honored four Nevadans on Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion for their important contributions that have positively impacted the American Indian community in Nevada. The 2010 American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction is the first statewide effort to recognize those individuals in the state that have influenced the lives of American Indians.
“The Awards banquet is our way of bringing attention to outstanding American Indians within our state who are making great strides for our people,” said Sherry Rupert, executive director of the commission. “We are very proud of these individuals and their achievements, and this is our way of showing them that their work has not gone unnoticed, these awards are our way of thanking them.”
In addition to the Achievement Awards, the Nevada Indian Commis-sion’s 45 years of service to the state was recognized. The Indian Commission was established in 1965 to be the conduit between the governor and the 27 federally recognized Nevada tribes.
Receiving achievement awards in each category were:
• American Indian Community Leader of the Year: Mervin Wright, Jr., Chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, for his leadership and expertise in the area of water rights, preservation of cultural and traditional interests for tribes and budget formulation for tribal interests on the federal level.
• American Indian Youth Services/Role Model of the Year: Lori Pasqua, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, for the accomplishments she has made in preparing American Indian youth in Nevada for higher education and her assistance in improving Indian education at the state level.
• American Indian Youth Ambassador of the Year: Ayden Finau, Duck Valley Paiute-Shoshone Tribe and Wooster High student, for showing outstanding athletic and academic achievement and being a positive role model for other American Indian youth.
• Contributor/Supporter of the Year: JoAnne Peden of Reno, oral historian and noted producer of several documentaries focused on Nevada’s American Indians. Her documentation of oral histories of tribal elders has served to educate the public about American Indians, the first people of Nevada.
All proceeds from the evening will benefit the Stewart Indian Cultural Center.